val·​e·​dic·​to·​ri·​an ˌva-lə-ˌdik-ˈtȯr-ē-ən How to pronounce valedictorian (audio)
: the student usually having the highest rank in a graduating class who delivers the valedictory address at the commencement exercises

Examples of valedictorian in a Sentence

She was the valedictorian of her class in 1985.
Recent Examples on the Web The week’s biggest stories (Christina House / Los Angeles Times) Campus protests and commencement In a moment of joy, silenced USC valedictorian graduates amid campus turmoil. Defne Karabatur, Los Angeles Times, 11 May 2024 After graduating as valedictorian from South Pasadena High School in 1945, McCloskey attended Occidental College and California Institute of Technology. Paul Rogers, The Mercury News, 8 May 2024 The University of Southern California made a similar call last month, following dozens of arrests and the cancelation of the Los Angeles campus' valedictorian speaker. Zachary Schermele, USA TODAY, 7 May 2024 Popular on Variety This announcement came less than a week after USC sparked controversy by barring its valedictorian, Asna Tabassum, a first-generation South-Asian American Muslim student, from delivering her commencement address. Jack Dunn, Variety, 20 Apr. 2024 Citing safety concerns, USC cancels pro-Palestinian valedictorian’s graduation speech. Defne Karabatur, Los Angeles Times, 18 Apr. 2024 The University of Southern California has canceled a student valedictorian's commencement speech out of safety concerns concerning her pro-Palestinian views. Kiara Alfonseca, ABC News, 16 Apr. 2024 Sheriff Judd said Manny was the youngest of three and was the Frostproof class of 2020 valedictorian. Stepheny Price, Fox News, 8 Apr. 2024 After graduating as valedictorian, in one of his first cases, Marshall sued the University of Maryland. Nikole Hannah-Jones, New York Times, 13 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'valedictorian.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


valedictor(y) + -ian

First Known Use

1759, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of valedictorian was in 1759

Dictionary Entries Near valedictorian

Cite this Entry

“Valedictorian.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


: the student usually of the highest rank in a graduating class who gives the farewell speech at graduation ceremonies

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